Sure, summer has its own challenges, but cold weather can be far more grueling — driving in the snow, staying warm, surviving power outages, and making sure your house doesn’t suffer any seasonal damage is not easy. However, it can be made a little simpler with these tips.
Safely Splash Around
Picture this: it's mid-winter, you confidently leave your house stepping into that giant puddle that's calling your name, when suddenly you realize — your shoes are not waterproof. Bummer, right?
You can avoid this situation by waterproofing your shoes with some simple WD-40. Pro-tip, you can use this oily spray to waterproof your coat and hat as well!
Remember the pack of Crayola you have lying around in the drawer of art supply you keep telling yourself you’ll open? The time has come for it to see the light of day. Other than being a coloring book’s best friend, these crayons make great short-term emergency lighting.
A full crayon can last for about 15 minutes. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you stock up properly and use them wisely, they might turn out to be your new best friends during a power outage.
Window Potato Prep
Looking at the weather forecast, if you see there are freezing temperatures up ahead, grab a potato, cut it in half, and take it outside. Rub it on your vehicle's windshields to protect them from icing over during the night.
The scientific explanation behind this is that the potato's sugar acts as a between the windshield and the ice. The next morning, just rinse the windows and wipe them before hitting the road.
Got a Light? Defrost Your Car Lock
Rainwater can seep anywhere, which means ice can form in any place. That includes your car’s lock too. This might be frustrating at times and can leave you standing in the cold.
All you need to do in this situation is to take your lighter and hold it under the tip of your car key for about six seconds. The fire will melt away the little ice causing you big problems.
A Battery Is a Great Fire Starter
Back when we all lived in caves and growled for language, we knew how to light a fire with some sticks and stones. Now we don't know how to start a fire without a lighter. Well, we can help with that.
If winter finds you at home with no electrical power, you might want to light a small (safe) fire to keep warm. First, find some batteries and tin foil. Then, cut a strip of tin foil and place it on the tip of the batteries. That will spark a small flame to get you started.
Vaseline to the Rescue
Vaseline is great for moisturizing a whole bunch of different things, but it can also help out your car doors more than you realize. Just rub it on the rubber door seals to keep them from freezing over in winter.
Pro tip: it can also help any vinyl or leather interior. Just put a dab of vaseline on a cloth and rub the cloth all over the car in order to prevent the leather from cracking.
Turn a Soda Can Into a Mini Stove
Yes, you can! This little can you just finished and threw in the trash could be just what you need to keep your meals warm if your microwave's life was claimed by the weather. So go fish that little can out of the trash and save it for a rainy day. Literally.
Building a makeshift stove is fairly simple. Cut about three inches from the bottom of the can and then poke some holes in its base. Turn it upside down so the base is facing up and then light a small candle or several matches under it and get cooking.
Turn Your Floor into a Drawing Board
You're at home with the kids. It's cold. Or rainy. Or you're snowed in. Or all three. The bottom line is that you can't leave the house and need something to do. You can use a vinyl shower curtain and some masking tape and turn your living room floor into a drawing board that will encourage their creativity.
Give them some whiteboard markers so they can draw and erase and keep themselves busy and entertained for hours. Just make sure they understand that this doesn’t mean they can draw on the actual floor in the future.
Did the rain kill the electricity at home? Burn some Doritos. It might sound a little counter-intuitive to set fire to Doritos rather than to eat them, but in case you have to choose between keeping warm and enjoying a snack, it would be good to remember that these salty triangles are actually pretty flammable.
Starting a fire from scratch isn’t always simple, and getting it to properly burn can be tricky. A little stack of those bad boys snacks could be just what you need in order to start a little campfire.
Look For the Secret Switch on Your Ceiling Fan
Warm air rises. That's not us, that's just thermodynamics. This means that in the winter months you are missing out on the warm air that lies closer to your ceiling. But there may just be a switch on your ceiling fan that can help with that.
Many ceiling fans come equipped with a small switch that can change the direction of the fan blades. To save on air conditioning during the winter, you can flick that switch to get the blades to move in a clockwise direction, causing the warm air to be pushed from the ceiling towards the floor.
Some people may already know that the greatest enemy of ice is salt — this is why roads get salted whenever it gets too cold and icy. But you can also use salt as a preventative measure before everything gets frozen over.
When temperatures start to drop below zero, wash your windows with a sponge that has been soaked in saltwater. Alternatively, fill a small bag made of soft fabric full of salt and wipe over your windows and windshield when they're still wet. This will help prevent them from freezing over when it gets too cold.
Make a Headboard a Priority
A bed set against an outer wall might not play well for you during the winter. You see, resting your head (or any other body part for that matter) against a cold wall for several hours a night might have a negative impact on your health.
If you can't move your bed as it's set against inner walls (maybe there's a closet or a library there), simply install a headboard. You can even create one on your own using a curtain rod draped with a nice piece of your favorite textile. Insulation is key.
Kitty Litter Isn't Just for Cats
When preparing your car for the winter, make sure it has a fresh bag of non-clumping kitty litter. Not only will the extra weight help your car get a better grip on the road, but this bag might be a lifesaver in case the car gets stuck on a snowy path.
If that ever happens, sprinkle some of the litter on the bottom of the tires. This will add better traction to the wheels and help you free the car more easily.
Boost Your Radiator With Aluminum Foil
During some of the colder winter nights, we all wish that the radiator could give out even just a bit more heat. Apparently, you can actually make radiators much more efficient simply by using some aluminum foil.
All you have to do is to take some aluminum foil and put a sheet of it between the radiator and your wall. Make sure that the aluminum is firmly taped to the wall and perhaps even bend its edges so that it boxes or points towards the rest of the room. This will reflect the heat into the open area of your room and double its strength.
Avoid Fogging With Shaving Cream
One of the reasons why the inside of your windshield will not defrost is because you are playing with your defroster. Sounds counter-intuitive, right? Just leave the defroster alone and opt for something simpler.
Try to skip the hassle and prepare your windows for the winter. Make sure you coat your windows with shaving cream and wipe them off later. Simple isn’t it?
One easy and cheap way to keep the heat inside your home and the energy bill low is to use an inexpensive insulator.
Bubblewrap is not so expensive and can be placed over non-insulated areas like door frames and windows. You can literally insulate anything with this amazing cozy material.
DIY Texting Gloves
It is always frustrating when you are trying to use your phone in 20-degree weather. A lot of people miss their calls because it takes them a lot of time to take off their gloves.
This easy hack can make any pair of gloves touchscreen friendly. You only need to sew some conductive thread into the glove tips and you will never miss a call again.
The Mats of Salvation
Picture this: you're walking to your car in what has now turned into a snowy/muddy parking lot. You soon realize that the car is stuck. Sounds horrible, right? Well, with a little resourcefulness you can free yourself up. Just use the floor mats under your car seats and try to stick them under the tires as best as you can.
This works better if you're with someone who can spin the tires while you stick the mats in. Use that rubbery traction to drive off to freedom! Just remember to take the mats with you when you're done.
Keep Your Board Fresh
Do you like hitting the slopes? Being an avid surfer or snowboarder means maintaining your board correctly. Proper maintenance means waxing your board. During the winter, when your board is most active, you have to remember to clean off your previously applied wax.
WD-40 can help remove even the toughest wax that may have clung to your boards, keeping them fresh for the next time the snow is calling.
Make Duct-Tape Shoe Covers
Do the kids love to play outside when it’s raining, and then track everything right back inside, all over your nice, clean floor? This trick can be a fun family craft project and save those floors from the wrath of the muddy shoes.
Use the kids' shoes as a guide to creating duct-tape slip-in covers so that they’ll be the perfect size for each person. Next time it’s raining, simply have them put these on over their shoes and then take them off at the door!
Socks Are Your Friends
We know that your glove box has never contained a single glove. And we're okay with that. But you might want to start packing some socks in it.
An extra pair of socks will save you the trouble waddling around in wet socks in case you accidentally stepped in a puddle or got caught in the rain. Any orphaned socks could also be useful, getting new life as covers for your wiper blades.
Stop Candles Dripping
In came the rain, out went the power. You already know the drill so you have some candles ready until you can get the light and heating back. But what are you going to do with all that dripping wax? If you want your candles to stop dripping all over, then you can use some salt water.
All you need to do is stick your candlesticks in some very salty water for a few hours, causing a layer of salt to form once you leave them out to dry.
Spray Your Shovel With Cooking Spray
Shoveling snow around your home can be very strenuous and back-breaking. Sometimes when the snow is heavy, it may stick to your shovel and make the job even harder.
All you need to do is just spray your shovel with cooking spray before moving outside to clear the walkway. With this method, you will discover it is easier to move the snow around and keeping your back in check.
Stop Pipes From Bursting With WD-40
Water changes its volume when it freezes and thaws. (Water expands when it freezes.) This means that the pipes that have water running through them are susceptible to seasonal damage.
During winter, it is very common to find pipes that are frozen. These pipes can burst from under certain temperatures, which is potentially hazardous. To prevent this, use WD-40 to spray the exterior of the pipes and joints.
Turn Your Terracotta Pot Into a Space Heater
Remember that pot you have in the corner of your balcony? You know the one, that very same one in which you managed to kill your last few plants. Since you're obviously not going to use it for other plants anytime soon, you should know it could be an excellent space heater for those cold months.
Since electricity may not be safe to use in a wet environment, you might want to resort to a more analog device. A couple of candles placed under an upside-down terracotta pot could heat you right up.
Consider Investing in Special Tires
Most of the time, the tires on our car are fine. In the winter, however, especially in places where it rains and snows a lot, one might want to invest in tires better suited to the cold climate.
Snow tires or year-round tires will help you drive more safely when the roads are icy, wet, or slippery. Different brands have their own way of rating their tires' durability so make sure to check with a professional before doing anything.
Mount a Drying Rack for Winter Gear
You know how they always say that hell is hot? Well, as we see it, the weather in the underworld is super-wintery, never-ending rain, and everyone's socks are always wet. Now THAT'S eternal damnation. So, in order to avoid the hell on earth which is wading your way from the front door to your bathroom in your wet coat and gloves, follow these instructions.
Mount a curtain rod on the wall by your front door and add clips to it. Now, whenever you walk in with wet clothes, clip them to the rack you made and let them air dry.
Do You Want to Build a Snowman? On Your Window?
Although watching the first and second snowfall can be romantic, when the snow starts building up, it can not only be annoying to clean up but can also cause damage to your windows.
You should know you can prevent this buildup altogether by spraying your window and window panes with WD-40 before the snow arrives. Try this neat new trick out next winter.
Make Rain Repellent for Your Windshield
Windshield wipers are essential for your vehicle and when they aren’t functioning properly, it can be a real safety hazard. No one should be driving when they can't see the road clearly.
If you find that your wipers are less than effective, take a damp cloth, sprinkle some baking soda on it and thoroughly wipe down your windshield. The baking soda should help create a covering over the windshield so that, the next time rain hits it, the water will roll away quicker.
Stick Pool Noodles in Your Boots
Every outfit looks better with boots. That's just common knowledge. So as soon as the first leaves fall, people jump at the chance to pull out their beloved winter boots. However, when the boots aren't being worn, they are typically stored in conditions less than ideal. If the tall part is left flopping for a long time, creases can spoil the footwear’s nice lines.
In order to keep your boots standing tall and proud, just put pool noodles inside them. Simply cut the noodles into the appropriate length and place them into the boots.
Electric Plug Insulator
This method is not commonly known but electrical outlets can be the culprit when it gets to drafty homes. The wall is usually cut out larger than it is needed and only a piece of plastic covers it.
One great way to eliminate drafts at home is to cut a packaging envelope into the shape of the outlet cover and make sure the sides of the socket are completely sealed.
Watching snowfall can be a magical experience. When you're indoors, that is. When you need to start your car, it's a lot less of a magical experience. Instead of using salt or fighting the snow, use WD-40 to defrost ice and snow from your car windows quickly.
You can even use it to defrost the ice on your windows at home to let that cool winter breeze in...or, not!
Avoid Frostbite With Baby Oil
When dealing with extreme cold, you might want to put some clothes on. More… maybe another sweater… and throw on a scarf while you're at it. Good.
Now it's time to take care of the body parts you weren't able to cover. In order to prevent them from getting frostbites, rub them with some petroleum jelly or baby oil. That will keep the frostbites away.
Protect Your Stroller Wheels From Rain or Mud
Found yourself repeatedly scrubbing the dirt and stains left by your child’s wet and muddy stroller wheels? Next time you take the stroller out in the winter, consider this ingenious idea.
Use shower caps to keep the stroller tires isolated and your carpet mess-free.
Camouflage Your Tank
This one is for those who already know how to brave the winter and are now looking for tips on aesthetics. Those people have a propane tank to keep their homes warm when it gets cold, which is efficient, yet unsightly in an otherwise beautiful yard.
Keep the tank hidden until you need it with a plastic rock box, which you can build to your specifications, no matter how your yard looks. Different colors of rocks and different configurations of the box will fit into any kind of outdoor garden.
Take Some Time Off
Sure, wintertime may not be the best time to go on vacation. That's usually what summers are for. But when you think about it, it begins to look like a more favorable option. First, because you can travel somewhere warmer.
Also, when you take a vacation in the winter, the off-season timing usually yields better flight/hotel deals. Plus, if you're away you have your host to take care of the cold for you.
Relieve a Sore Throat With Baking Soda
The infamous winter sore throat can be really aggravating, not to mention a nightmare to get rid of. Taking too many antibiotics can start harming your body after a while, so you might want to resort to home remedies before you contact the nearest pharmacy.
To help ease the pain and irritation of a sore throat, try gargling a mix of warm water and baking soda. For an extra kick, add some salt and lemon juice into the mix.
Build an Igloo With Perfect Snow Blocks
Building an igloo in the snow is one of those activities that make winter fun, and if your kid is looking to make theirs extra authentic, you can help them out with a simple Tupperware container.
Just use any size container to form “bricks” and let their imaginations run wild.
Melt the Ice on Your Driveway With Baking Soda
If the place where you live often encounters cold, icy winters, you know the anxiety that comes with an ice-covered walkway or driveway. Icy slip-and-falls are never fun.
Well, if you don’t have salt on hand to melt the ice, you can try sprinkling baking soda all over the frozen area. Though it's not as strong as road salt, it will help melt the ice on a potentially hazardous walkway.
Time to Huddle
Some cities or neighborhoods aren't very well-equipped to handle extremely cold weather. The power goes out for hours on end with the first sign of rain and the people are left to fend for themselves with no proper electricity.
One way to keep warm when the temperatures drop and it's starting to pour is to gather everyone in the house (pets too, obviously) in one room and close the door. The combined body heat will keep you warm and being close will also contribute to creating a warmer family dynamic.
Clean and Avoid Salt Buildup With Vinegar
If you live in a place with constant salt buildup on the roads because of snow, this can be very damaging for your car’s bodywork in the long run. And by damaging we mean it’ll slowly melt away your car from underneath, so this is something you should stay on top of.
To avoid this, next time it snows, mix water and vinegar in a spray bottle and spray the bottom part of your car with it. It'll melt the salt right off.
Protect Your Car Doors With WD-40
Cars require a lot more maintenance during the winter than they do in the summer. While it may seem trivial, one of the most crucial parts of your car is its doors. They need to stay in tip-top shape to maximize safety and protect you from the weather.
Come winter, you'll probably want to prevent rain and snow from getting in, and one way to do that is to keep the rubber lining in great shape by spraying a layer of WD-40 on them.
Stay Warm on a Budget
Most people would assume that there's not much you can do about utility bills. But there are some strategies you can practice that will help lower the price of your utilities in the winter.
Simply set your thermostat a bit higher in the summer and a bit lower in the winter. When the temperature is steady, the thermostat doesn't work as hard and takes up less power.
Use Hand Sanitizer for Iced Doors and Locks
If you’re having some icy troubles with your home/car doors during the winter, you can actually solve them with some hand sanitizer. The high alcohol content should be able to quickly melt the ice from stuck locks and doors.
It’s recommended that you use the gel solution over liquid alcohol. This is a great little hack in preparing for the winter season.
It's Cold? Start Running
Exercising in a cold climate can help boost the production of calorie-burning brown fat by 45%. Brown fat burns calories to produce heat, which increases your overall metabolism. This can help stave off the winter weight that accumulates from the lack of daily activity, decreased intake of fresh food, and increased consumption of comfort foods.
Exercise makes you feel more awake, energized, and releases endorphins, which make you feel better, fighting the occasional winter blues.
Always Park Your Car Facing East
Trying to start your car for your morning commute is pretty standard. But it can prove difficult in the winter when the engine is cold and the windows are frozen from the previous night.
So, when you park your car, face it to the east. The sun will defrost your windows before you get outside. This might be a little work but the sun will give you a jumpstart.
Boost That Flame
Snowed in with no power? You might want to start a (small, controlled) fire to keep warm. You can use simple household items to do it! All you need is your roll of tape, dryer lint, and some cotton. Peel off a 6-inch strip of tape and roll it into a little canister shape, about an inch wide, sticky side facing out.
Pack your dryer lint inside of the little tube, stuffing as much in as you can fit without opening the tape. Then, roll your cotton around the outside.
Keep Your Matches Dry
The biggest problem with matches is that they come inside a delicate and thin cardboard box, making them susceptible to dampness and other environmental factors that ruin the match's effectiveness. Using them in the winter, then, can become impossible.
One of the easiest ways to preserve your matches over a long period of time is to simply wrap the box in aluminum foil. This will keep your matchbox and the matches inside completely dry.
DIY Winter Bike Tires
This one is for those bike maniacs. The ones riding their bicycle come rain or come shine. Come heatwave or come frost. You know that riding your bike becomes much harder once the ice sets in.
You don’t need to give up on your lifestyle for a little ice attack. All you need to do is to place zip ties around your bike tires for traction. After the winter is over, you can just cut them off.